Sunderland and Newcastle United have both been linked with a move for a young French striker as Sam Allardyce bids to bolster his squad.
With the January transfer window on the horizon, Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton and Newcastle chief scout Graham Carr are getting busy.
Sunderland duo Vito Mannone and Jordi Gomez have both been linked with moves to Serie A clubs next month, but Allardyce is also keen on strengthening his side ahead of a relegation fight.
And the Black Cats – along with rivals Newcastle – have been credited with an interest in Anthony Koura, a 22-year-old striker currently playing in France’s second division for Nimes Olympique.
French newspaper L’Equipe claims both Newcastle and Sunderland are ‘very interested’ in doing a deal for the player, who is out of contract in the summer.
Koura could be available for less than £1million, but having yet to play in the French top flight, his signing would be a risk for both clubs, especially in a battle to beat the drop. The French Under-19 international has only scored three times in 14 appearances this season.
The North East duo have also both been linked with striker Charlie Austin, but new QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has warned them that they won’t ‘pinch’ their star player in January.
Meanwhile, Verona are rumoured to have made an enquiry for Mannone, who was the subject of speculation during the summer, yet remained at the Stadium of Light, while 21-year-old stopper Jordan Pickford joined Preston on a season-long loan.
And Gomez is mooted to be a target for Bologna, who signed Sunderland midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini on loan last August.
Both Mannone and Gomez have another 18 months to run on their contracts at Sunderland.